The typical office provides lots of opportunities for going green. From adjusting your office's lighting system to the types of office supplies you choose and use, there are hundreds of things you can do to make your office more environmentally friendly. This guide presents a selection of going green tips for the office that are easy to implement and will make a considerable difference over time.
General Green Tips for the Office
- Place a recycling centre in a prominent location in your office. If a complete set of recycling containers would take too much room, put a waste paper recycling box near the printers and a general recycling box in the staff room. Empty the recycling boxes regularly and organise bottles and returns.
- Encourage staff to use mugs, glasses, dishes, and cutlery rather than disposables. It takes just seconds to wash a mug.
- Use coffee filters that are made of recycled paper or, even better, get a coffee maker that doesn't require paper filters. Compost coffee grounds if possible.
- Make sure your office has at least one large live plant in it.
- Make sure that your office is being cleaned using green products that are not damaging to the environment.
- Try to go paperless by only printing documents if necessary. There's no reason that inter-office communications can't be done electronically.
- Get in the habit of asking customers if they want their receipts rather than just automatically printing them.
- Use mobile devices or overhead projectors to display meeting agendas rather than printing and distributing them.
- Find a place to recycle used recyclable batteries and cell phones near you and use it.
- Practice green procurement (sourcing and purchasing the least environmentally damaging goods).
Green Tips for Office Supplies
- Look for and purchase green products such as staple-less staplers and pens that can be refilled repeatedly rather than sent to a landfill.
- Find products that are made from post-consumer content (materials have been collected back from previous products and remade into new ones) such as paper and plastic products.
- Cut down or eliminate your use of products that have no green alternatives, such as rubber bands.
- Recycle used office supplies whenever possible.
Green Tips for Lighting
- Turn the lights off in rooms when they're not in use. For instance, there's no point in having the lights in an office staff room or washroom all day.
- Replace standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LED bulbs wherever possible. These use around 75% less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs while delivering the same light output.
- Do not leave your office lights on overnight.
- Use light wall colours; light paint colours and higher gloss sheens reflect daylight, meaning your space will need less overhead lighting.
It’s clear that business sustainability goals make more of an impact than first meets the eye. By taking care of the environment, the welfare of staff is also vastly improved, and company finances are positively affected. Studies show that implementing an eco-office effort has notably changed staff attitude and created a stronger, happier and more caring work community.
Try any – or all – of these sustainable office ideas in your own office, and prepare to reap the environmental, social and economic rewards for your business!